I was watching the Monday night football game between the St. Louis Rams and the New York Giants and witnessed something that made me wrinkle my nose in disgust. Deon Grant, a 12-year veteran and defensive back for the Giants, flopped in between plays and faked an injury in an attempt to stall a St. Louis drive. The worst part was, it worked.
If you watch the replay, and it can be found on YouTube just by typing Grant’s name, he is not the only one to commit the ridiculous act on the very same play. Jacquian Williams, a rookie, tried the same tactic but immediately got up while Grant lay on the ground clutching his leg as if he’d been hit with a bat. This came after the Rams had driven the ball all the way down the Giants'15-yard line using a no-huddle offense. The acting job by Grant was embarrassing and to be caught on national television like it was makes it stand out even more.
“That’s a tactic that defenses have used in the past against no huddle offenses,” commentator and former NFL Head Coach Jon Gruden said.
Seeing that play and hearing those comments while the play was being replayed repeatedly during the telecast reminded me of last year when the California Golden Bears pulled the same stunt against the Oregon Ducks. While I do have a heavy disdain for the University of Oregon, I also respect their speed and up-tempo style of play. It’s up to the coaches and players to stop it without resorting to elementary tactics.
Football is not the only sport where this is showcased. I believe this is most evident in soccer, while also being seen on the basketball court at times. Some call it smart. I call it stupid. How am I supposed to appreciate what you do when you can’t win a fair fight? Obviously Grant’s fall did not decide the game, which resulted in a 28-16 New York victory, but it did happen and the backlash of public opinion has been loud and clear.
But the league has done nothing because there is no rule against it. While I do believe there should be a rule against flopping or a penalty of some kind, it becomes a very gray area when determining a player’s health. Only that person knows their body and their pain tolerance, so who are we to criticize if a player is healthy? Flashback to last season’s NFC championship game when Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler was heavily criticized for sitting out the second half with a leg injury that many couldn’t figure how it happened.
It’s unfortunate to see flops and falls happen around the sports world in an attempt to gain an advantage but it happens. I just know I shamefully pulled the very stunt back in high school while playing soccer and it resulted in nothing except embarrassment. Hopefully Grant and Williams feel the same way.